Teacher Training Faculty

Ron Reid has been practicing Yoga for over 30 years and teaching since 1988. He has studied with Sri K. Pattabhi Jois and Sharath both in India and North America and was one of the first Canadian teachers to be authorized by Pattabhi Jois. Ron is one of Canada’s top teachers, approaching teaching in an inspired, informed and non-dogmatic way. He places the needs of the students ahead of the demands of the practice, blending tradition with innovation, and precision with grace. Students will find his refined approach to practice both challenging and rewarding.


Meenakshi (Marla Joy) first traveled to India in 1988 to study meditation and the philosophy of the Vedas with Swami Shyam in the Himalayas, and is a Certified Meditation and Yoga Philosophy teacher from the International Meditation Institute in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh, Himalayas. She has been teaching workshops and teacher training programs since 1999, in Toronto and abroad, as both a teacher of Philosophy and Sanskrit, Ashtanga Vinyasa yoga, and Restorative Yoga. She also leads kirtan internationally, and has produced 4 cd’s with her partner Ron Reid and their band SWAHA.

Chris Kummer N.D. BHS, E-RYT, is an experienced yoga teacher specializing in applied anatomy and physiology of yoga practices. Since 2000 Chris has been teaching yoga and the ‘Yoga Anatomy Show’ on over 100 accredited Yoga Teacher Trainings in many countries around the world and has conducted numerous workshops on yoga, breath, health and well-being. Originally from Germany, Chris was windsurfing professionally before he began studying medicine at Kiel University. In 1993 Chris moved to Australia, where he studied natural medicine. He earned a BHS in Complementary Medicine and advanced diplomas in naturopathy, holistic nutritional medicine, western herbal medicine and homeopathy. On his yoga journey Chris has been influenced by his friends and teachers. Some of the teachers who have contributed greatly to his body of knowledge are Yogacharya H.S. Arun (Iyengar yoga), Clive Sheridan (hatha kundalini, pranayama), Emil Wendel (pranayama, philosophy), Peter Clifford (therapeutic yoga), Matthew Sweeney, Louisa Sear and David Muehsam (astanga vinyasa), and Judith Lasater (restorative yoga). Chris’ naturopathic background and his passion for yoga led to his specialization in applied functional yoga anatomy. In addition to workshops, he has been developing and teaching curricula for yoga teacher trainings for 15 years. In 2003 Chris co-developed KindaYoga, a method to introduce young children to yoga and health through interactive exercises, storytelling and play via visual media. “My passion is to further the understanding of yoga, movement and health in the worldwide community”.  www.chriskummer.com

Tamara Berger is a writer who has been practicing yoga for over 15 years. Her practice is Mysore-style and she learned the Ashtanga Yoga Vinyasa System — Primary, Second and Third Series as Ron Reid has taught it to her. She mostly teaches Mysore-style at Downward Dog to get to know students’ individual practices and needs. She likes to give hands-on adjustments and she is experienced with how to practice yoga with injuries. Tamara has also studied Prenatal Yoga with Sasha Padron and she really enjoys working with pregnant yoga practitioners in the Mysore room as well. In led classes, she tends to work Vinyasa-style with an emphasis on breath and bandhas, moving through a standard set of asanas to get the whole body involved. She has taught many Second Series workshops at Downward Dog over the years and has been a part of Downward Dog’s teacher training program for the last two years.

David Bruni has been a student of yoga for over 25 years. And with 20 years as a Shiatsu therapist, he has fused his knowledge of yoga and Shiatsu, into a yoga-self massage, class. He loves the idea of making people discover all the ways in which to strengthen, open and soften the body.  David received his teacher certification from Downward Dog yoga studio under the guidance of Ron Reid and Diane Bruni in 2006.

Cecily Milne teaches Mysore-style classes using informative, hands-on adjustments, combined with one-on-one intuitive instruction to support the self-discovery of yoga as a therapeutic practice. Having experienced the benefits of both an intense, daily Ashtanga practice as well as lighter, less frequent Hatha practices, Cecily has come to appreciate how important variation is when exploring the many ways in which our bodies are designed to move.

Simone Nitzan came to Ashtanga Yoga from the world of competitive sports, and immediately fell in love with the practice. She was living in Vancouver, working on her Master’s degree in exercise physiology, and practicing daily at the Babylon Yoga Shala. Over the years Simone has been in and out of Toronto, studying as often as she can with her teachers Ron Reid and Marla Meenakshi Joy. Most recently, Simone has been living in Tel Aviv, Israel and teaching at the Lotus Yoga School. She has been deeply involved in the teacher training program there for the last three years, teaching applied anatomy and physiology, as well as asana and hands on adjustments.

Sheldon Shannon is a Toronto based Ashtanga yoga instructor accredited through the Downward Dog Yoga Studio. He continues his study under the tutelage of Diane Bruni, Ron Reid, Marla Meenakshi Joy and Laurie Campbell. Sheldon brings a unique perspective to the world of yoga. Drawing from his competitive gymnastics background and knowledge of the Ashtanga discipline, he designs energetic, sweat-inducing Vinyasa flow classes that build strength, flexibility and stamina. He is known for his challenging yoga routines, creative sequencing and inventive approach to helping students access postures. His playful presence, sense of humour and passion for teaching make him a favourite among students.